Kumano Kodo self-guided walking (6 Days)

Kumano Kodo self-guided walking

The Kii Peninsula points south away from the great cities of Kyoto and Osaka, and is one of the most remote and mystical areas of Japan, despite its proximity. Long a place of pilgrimage, it is the site of the three Grand Shrines of Kumano (Kumano Sanzan). From the 11th century successive emperors and their families made the long and difficult pilgrimage to Kumano from Kyoto. Several pilgrimage trails were established, and amongst them the Nakahechi-do, Kohechi-do and Ohechi-do, collectively known as the Kumano kodo (Old road of Kumano). Our walk focuses on part of the Nakahechi-do, which weaves its way through the forested mountains and small villages to the Grand Shrine of Hongu. You then transfer by bus and train to the Nachi Grand Shrine.

The walking is mostly paved village paths and unpaved mountains trails, with considerable ascent and descent on certain days. Though not 'technical', you will be need to be fit and well-prepared with adequate gear and clothing. This walk is highly customisable; there are 4 Days of walking ranging from 4 to 9 hours, and we can advise on which days to leave out if you want a shorter or more gentle walk.

We also offer 4-day, 5-day, 9-day and 11-day versions of this trip.

Package Details


Price : Adult (age 12+)

AUD 1,725

Duration : 5 nights 6 Days
Tour Start : Kyoto or Osaka
Tour End : Kyoto or Osaka
Walking days : 4 days
Departure Date : Daily (All Year)
Route :
  • Kyoto or Osaka
  • Kii-Tanabe
  • Takijiri
  • Takahara
  • Chikatsuyu
  • Hongu
  • Yunomine Onsen
  • Koguchi
  • Nachi-san
  • Kii-Katsuura
  • Kyoto or Osaka
Includes :
  • 5 nights accommodation
  • 5 Breakfasts and 5 Dinners
  • Train tickets (from/to Kyoto or Osaka)
  • Detailed day-by-day itinerary and walking instructions
  • Topographical map
  • Local phone support
Exclusions :
  • Flights
  • Airport transfers
  • Pay locally for drinks with meals and for lunches
  • Pay locally for bus journeys on Days 1, 3, 4 and 6
  • Single room supplement(s) if required
Download : PDF Itinerary


Day 1

(Meals : Dinner)

Arrive in Kii-Tanabe and enjoy local farming activities

Travel by morning train to the seaside town of Kii-Tanabe and travel by bus to the inn, where you can leave your luggage before being transferred to a mountainside Mikan orange orchard to pick fruit or vegetables, depending on weather and seasonality. After gathering and tasting various types of Mikan oranges, head onwards to the lodge where you spend the night. Later in the afternoon stroll or cycle around Kamiakizu, perhaps visiting the local farmers market, which sells a whole array of fresh fruit and other local produce. Enjoy dinner made with vegetables grown on-site.

Hotel : Kii-Tanabe

Day 2

(Meals : Breakfast / Dinner)

Hike from Takijiri to Chikatsuyu

Walking distance : 14.5km

Elevation gain : 850m of ascent and 520m of descent

Time required : About 6-7 hours

Board a local bus outside Kii-Tanabe station and travel forty minutes to Takijiri. This is where your walk on the Nakahechi portion of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route begins. From Takijiri the path climbs steadily to the ridge-top village of Takahara, and takes around two hours. From here you follow the trail as it winds through small settlements and peaceful countryside. You pass several Oji shrines before finally descending to the village of Chikatsuyu. The paths are clearly defined, and flagstones have been laid in some places to make the climbs easier. Arrive in Chikatsuyu or the small hamlet of Nonaka just beyond the main village in time to relax before dinner at a family-run Minshuku guest-house.

* There are two shorter alternatives of 4.5 hours (12km) and 2.5 hours (6.5km) extending the local buses. You can choose which option you prefer on the day - there is no need to decide in advance.

Hotel : Chikatsuyu

Day 3

(Meals : Breakfast / Dinner)

Hike from Chikatsuyu and Nonaka to Hongu

Walking distance : 24km

Elevation gain : 820m of ascent and 1,140m of descent

Time required : About 8-9 hours

From Chikatsuyu, the trail continues through the mountains to Hongu. The trail passes through small villages and forest trails over the Kii Mountains to the Kumano shrine at Hongu, one of the three 'Grand Shrines of Kumano'. At the heart of these sacred mountains, Kumano was said to be the entrance to the land of Yomi, the 'other world' which spirits travelled to in Japanese mythology. From the Kumano shrine at Hongu, a short bus ride brings you to Yunomine Onsen, one of the oldest natural hot-spring villages in Japan, or to Kawayu Onsen famous for the thermal water bubbling to the surface of the crystal clear river. Enjoy a relaxing soak in a Japanese bath before or after your delicious, multi-course dinner.

* We offer two shorter alternatives of 7 hours (15km) or of 2 hours (7km), using a local bus from Chikatsuyu to shorten the walk. You can choose which option you prefer on the day - no need to decide in advance!

Hotel : Yunomine Onsen

Day 4

(Meals : Breakfast / Dinner)

Hike from Ukegawa to Koguchi

Walking distance : 12.4km

Elevation gain : 520m of ascent and 500m of descent

Time required : About 4 hours

Before or after breakfast, take time to explore the atmospheric village where you spent the night. Today's journey begins with a short bus ride to Ukegawa on the banks of the Kumano River. From Ukegawa, you start on the Kogumotorigoe path, which heads up to the Kogumotorigoe Pass before descending to the remote village of Koguchi. The trail is not difficult and todayfs hike should take you about 4 hours. A warm welcome and good food await you at a tiny inn run by a charming retired couple, or alternatively at the engaging lodge created from a former school building. Explore along the river and have a swim if the weather is warm.

Hotel : Koguchi

Day 5

(Meals : Breakfast / Dinner)

Hike from Koguchi to Nachi-san

Walking distance : 15.1km

Elevation gain : 980m of ascent and 920m of descent

Time required : About 6-7 hours

The final section of the trail takes you from Koguchi up to the Ogumotorigoe Pass with a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean. It then descends to Nachi-san, the location of Nachi Taisha Grand Shrine, one of the three Grand Shrines of Kumano and Nachi-taki waterfall. Stay overnight either in the small village of Nachi-san close to the shrine, or take a local bus for the twenty-minute ride to the port town of Kii-Katsuura with wonderful views over the island-studded bay. Enjoy dinner and breakfast served by your hosts at your accommodation.

Hotel : Katsuura

Day 6

(Meals : Breakfast)

Kii-Katsuura and onwards to Osaka or Kyoto

Kii-Katsuura is an active fishing port and has a lively early-morning fish market. Enjoy the views out over the island-studded bay. There are intriguing backstreets and a traditional covered shopping arcade to explore, too. We provide train tickets for you to board a train at lunchtime, travelling back around the Kii Peninsula and arriving in Osaka or Kyoto mid to late afternoon.

Hotel : N/A


Most of our accommodation is Japanese style guest house and they are share bathroom.

Takahara Takahara Room Takahara Bath

※ Example images, actual hotels may vary.

DayCityHotel NameHotel Type
1 Kii-Tanabe - Japanese farmstay
2 Chikatsuyu or similar Minshuku Chikatsuyu Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse)
3 Yunomine Yoshinoya or similar Onsen Ryokan (Hot-spring Travellers Inn)
4 Koguchi Momofuku or similar Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse) or Japanese Lodge
5 Katsuura Hotel Nakanoshima or similar Minshuku (Family-run Guesthouse) or Japanese-style Onsen Hotel


Tour Operator : Oxalis Holidays Limited
Hotels : 5 nights Japanese-style Rooms
Meal : 5 Breakfasts, 5 Dinners
Participants : Minimum 1
Single Room Supplement :

AUD 550

Type and level of walking : Strenuous - Our Strenuous tours generally have multiple dedicated days of trail walking, with some days of up to six hours or more and significant ascent and/or descent.
Walking Season : All year (the region may occasionally experience snow from December to March)
Departures : Any day Accommodations are busy and may charge extra during the following Japanese holiday periods: New Year (29 December to 04 January), Golden Week (29 April - 05 May), and O-bon (09 - 17 August). Please enquire for availability and pricing if your trip falls within those dates.
International Flight : We offer the option of purchasing air inclusive tour packages, or land only tour packages, giving our customers the freedom to source their own flights. However, we are always more than happy to arrange your flights.
Optional extra days : We can arrange extra days at the beginning or end of the trip in the following destinations :

Mount Koya

Travel along the scenic Nankai railway line to the temple town of Mount Koya, a bowl-shaped valley filled with stands of cedar trees 800 metres up in the mountains of the Kii Peninsula. Spend two nights and three days in this historic location, visiting the emotive UNESCO world heritage site Eko-no-in, and enjoy a stay at a Shukubo monastery lodging, featuring delicious Shojin Ryori dinners and breakfasts, with rail tickets starting from Kyoto or Osaka and bus or rail tickets onwards to the trail.


Video courtesy of Oku Japan

  • Nakasendo Walk 01
  • Kumanokodo Root
  • Nakasendo Walk 02
  • Nakasendo Walk 03
  • Nakasendo Walk 04
  • Nakasendo Walk 05
  • Nakasendo Walk 06
  • Nakasendo Walk 07
  • Nakasendo Walk 08
  • Nakasendo Walk 09


Contact Us

  • +61 2 9264 7384
  • info@japanpackage.com.au
  • c/o Books Kinokuniya,
    Level 2 The Galeries,
    500 George Street, Sydney,
    New South Wales, Australia, 2000
  • Mon-Fri: 10:00 - 18:00
    Sat: 12:00 - 16:00
    Sun, Public Holiday: close

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